Category: The Lip
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL — Ego, ego, ego! Message to Keith Olbermann: You are blowing whatever is left of your image as a “person” by allowing your behind-the-scenes employment war with Al Gore and Current TV to boil over the top and become the main issue in an ugly spectacle. Not good strategy nor image positioning for a guy who claims to be a “progressive” concerned about the struggles of working people, the unemployed and the suffering middle class in America. C’mon Keith – what’s the matter with you? Why are you allowing yourself to come across as an egomaniacal ass? (Is it because you actually are one?) It is not fitting for someone who wants to – no needs to – be perceived as a mensch! Especially since it is clear that you have such an abundance of God-given talent.
And why are you giving Al Gore such a tough time? Don’t make it all about YOU. At least Gore is attempting to widen the commercial media platform available to progressive talkers in this country, not to mention sign you to a big fat friggin’ contract with enough dough that could keep countless of the families you claim to be so concerned about under their roofs and fed through this economic and political crisis.
You are proving yourself to be just like, even worse than, the greedy right-wing “nut-jobs” you have made a fortune publicly holding in judgment. You are part of the problem and you are doing a terrible disservice to the progressive movement. You are a hypocrite of the worst order. But that’s okay, the world is full of hypocrites… what really bugs me is you are hurting your colleagues in talk media.
Look, we all know at its core this is show business, and that’s where I’m coming from in pointing out, Mr. Ten Million Dollar Chandelier (oh brother!) that you are putting on the wrong performance. Instead of erasing all doubt that you are a diva when you realized that Current TV has less than the top-notch production skills to which you became accustomed at ESPN and MSNBC, you should have rolled with it and made it part of the shtick! You should have pointed out that Current TV is an upstart operation bucking the well-financed slick, corporate bastions like MSNBC, CNN and Fox. You could have made the case that it is content- and message-oriented, run by people with a cause and a mission – not “money grabbing” heartless corporate types! You could have kindly said these folks are working hard to get the technical “show biz” aspect of their act together… because at the heart of it, they are just down-to-earth everyday folk more concerned with helping America than starting yet another plastic, glitzy, BS cable network. Now THAT would be smart positioning and a clever strategy to keep your fat job, help a fledgling network get on its feet, come across looking like a great guy, help the business of talk media… and maybe, just maybe – help America!
JUPITER, FL – Greetings from the Jupiter office of TALKERS. I’ve been spending the winter at our condo down here in Palm Beach Gardens with my husband Murray, the retired dentist, and it has been simply wonderful! Done a bit of traveling around the state and let me tell you, there’s some really good radio in Florida. Especially some of the local shows that trade publications never write about.
For example, I found a little gem of a talk show tucked away weekends on, of all things, an adult music station. It is hosted by an absolutely dazzling lady that I’m sure many of you will remember from her colorful film, media and show business history. But before I get to that, I must share with you a deliciously juicy rumor that I am almost certain is true involving two of the biggest stars in progressive talk radio…
Schultz and Hartmann are cooperating for the greater good!
That’s right, get this!
It is no secret that the progressive branch of the news/talk world has had its share of obstacles to overcome – weak-signaled outlets, poor business strategies (Air America), a slow start jumping into the modern talk era fray and a less sharply-defined target audience than conservative talk has been able to galvanize — just to name a handful.
Then there has been “The Great Ed Schultz-Thom Hartmann Scheduling Conflict” – otherwise known in the laws of physics as two objects not being able to occupy the same space at the same time. (Well, I’m not really sure if that actually is a law of physics – especially with String Theory and all that far out stuff that Michio Kaku talks about on the Science Channel – but you get my drift.)
For years, station programmers wanting to cobble together a decent progressive talk radio line-up and create a time-spent-listening feeding frenzy have had to deal with the inconvenient fact that the genre’s two biggest players both broadcast their midday programs live at the same friggin’ time! They are both in the studio between 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm ET. How frustrating that must be for the good folks at Dial Global who represent both of these acts (and have for years been earnest supporters of the progressive talk radio movement).
By Mona Lipschitz
Happy New Year everyone…..Finally after 21 years of gathering and writing “NewsNotes” for the print version of TALKERS magazine, the powers here finally recognized that I am intimately aware of what’s happening in this industry and know how it works. So, they gave me my own column here at Talkers.com (in lieu of a raise) and said, “Knock yourself out, Mona.” I plan to take them up on it and promise to make the most of this opportunity. Look out Talkers Nation! The Lip is loose! Okay, enough with the posturing crap. Let’s go…..There are huge lessons to be learned from the “Walter Sabo Exits Merlin” saga. An idea guy like Walter should not be “operating” anything. His job title at Merlin was COO — chief OPERATING officer. Wrong role! Walter should be giving ideas, advice, encouragement and inspiration to people who do the operating and the executing. As a consultant, he’s done that quite well for more than two decades. I am glad he’s back where he belongs and where the industry needs him. I’ve never met Randy Michaels but my impression from tons of first-hand sources is he isn’t that much better suited to be an operator than Walter. Look at his track record. Seems to me Randy is kind of an idea guy himself. Maybe the best idea he had was to hire Walter and tap into some of his ideas. But I question if Randy and Walter were the right guys to pull it off with the people in the programming trenches — the PDs, anchors, producers, writers — and actually produce an on-air product worthy of the concept. Before Randy capitulated to the instantaneous naysayers and nervous investors (blowing Walter out of the loop in the process) and turned Merlin’s New York and Chicago properties into half-baked versions of their CBS all-news competition, he and Walter were on the right path regardless of the ridicule and poor numbers faced in the early going. Some of the greatest human success stories begin by facing these obstacles. The ridicule was deserved because they rushed the format onto the air before it was ready. The poor numbers followed because the product wasn’t quite right and it takes time to get good numbers even when the product is good in spoken word. Heck – this ain’t disco in the late eighties! The idea of targeting an all-news station to women 25-54 on FM is brilliant and extremely do-able if done properly. The FM dial is a great place to pick up women! They are already there listening to many of the music stations (as well as public radio) and of course today’s working woman is interested in the “news.” You just can’t cater to the stereotypes of what women want – obvious superficial stuff like shopping, fashion, parenting and gossip. True, these are things of interest to women. But you must go much deeper to actually get them to change their habits and flock to a new address on the radio dial — especially within the space of one or two rating periods. Women want to feel emotionally connected to like-minded souls. They want to feel that they are not alone. They want to feel that they are part of a community and enjoy the comfort and camaraderie of other women who are sharing the same experiences, joys and fears. THAT’S how you get women to listen to talk on the radio. With all due respect to Randy and Walter, they don’t strike me as the kind of guys whose minds work in that direction. Forgive the cliché, but we seem to throw the baby out with the bathwater way too much in this business when great ideas fail to be executed properly…..Speaking of poor execution; someone should jump in – let’s call it intervention — and help CNN “personality” Anderson Cooper avoid destroying his career by trying to wear too many hats in an effort to boost ratings and be a media star. He should stick to one thing and do it well instead of becoming CNN’s in-house clown. I found his situation co-hosting New Year’s Eve from Times Square with goofball Kathy Griffin to be a painfully poor pairing and I had to turn it off and switch over to Ryan Seacrest who seemed like Walter Cronkite compared to Anderson if you can imagine that…..Congratulations to JD Hayworth and Melanie Morgan for being put on the air full time at KSFO, San Francisco. It is a relief to finally see Cumulus putting good people on the air instead of just throwing them off…..Our condolences goe out to the family of one of the smartest and nicest people in talk radio programming, David Bernstein of Bernstein Talent, who lost his dad Charlie Bernstein to cancer over the holidays. David described his dad as his “hero.”…..Hey, if you hear of anything interesting, let me know. Send your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org To go to the main news page, click here.